Upper Mustang Overland Tour
Tucked away in the remote corner of Nepal lies a hidden gem known as Upper Mustang. This mystical region, often referred to as the "Forbidden Kingdom," offers a unique and captivating overland tour experience. Let's embark on a virtual journey through the dramatic landscapes and ancient culture of Upper Mustang.
Unveiling the Forbidden Kingdom:
Upper Mustang, located in the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges, was once a forbidden land, inaccessible to outsiders until 1992. This isolation has preserved the region's rich Tibetan Buddhist culture and stunning landscapes, making it a captivating destination for intrepid travelers.
Landscape of Mystique:
As the overland tour begins, the rugged terrain unfolds before your eyes. The barren desert-like landscapes, sculpted cliffs, and dramatic rock formations create an otherworldly atmosphere. The Kali Gandaki River, flowing through the deep gorge, adds to the mystique, while occasional oasis-like villages break the monotony of the arid surroundings.
Ancient Kingdoms and Cultural Marvels:
The journey through Upper Mustang takes you through ancient kingdoms and centuries-old monasteries. Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang, offers a glimpse into the region's past with its intricate mud-brick buildings and palace walls adorned with prayer flags. Explore the narrow alleyways, visit the ancient monasteries, and immerse yourself in the daily lives and customs of the friendly local people.
Interacting with the people of Upper Mustang is a highlight of the overland tour. The inhabitants, predominantly of Tibetan descent, have preserved their unique traditions and religious practices. From witnessing traditional dances and rituals to engaging in conversations with the locals, you'll gain a deeper understanding of their way of life and the challenges they face in this remote region.
Beyond the cultural treasures, Upper Mustang boasts natural wonders that leave visitors in awe. The enigmatic caves of Chosar and Chhoser, believed to have served as meditation sites for ancient mystics, offer a fascinating exploration opportunity. The panoramic views from viewpoints like Ghami La and Nyi La Passes, surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks, provide an unmatched sense of serenity and grandeur.
Upper Mustang's delicate ecosystem and cultural heritage are being carefully preserved through sustainable tourism practices. Restricted access, permits, and a limited number of visitors per year help protect the region's pristine beauty and ensure that its unique traditions remain intact.
The Upper Mustang Overland Tour is an adventure like no other, offering a glimpse into a world frozen in time. From the captivating landscapes to the rich cultural heritage, this journey takes you on a remarkable exploration of the Forbidden Kingdom. Embark on this off-the-beaten-path adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
- Arrive in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.
- Transfer to your hotel and rest or explore the vibrant streets and markets of Thamel.
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Preparation
- Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, and Swayambhunath Temple.
- In the afternoon, attend a pre-tour briefing with your tour guide to discuss the details of the Upper Mustang Overland Tour.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara
- Take a scenic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara.
- Spend the day exploring the beautiful lakeside city and preparing for the upcoming journey.
Day 4: Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and Drive to Kagbeni
- Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom, a small town in the Mustang region.
- Begin the overland tour by driving from Jomsom to Kagbeni, a charming village at the entrance of Upper Mustang.
- Explore Kagbeni and visit the Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Monastery.
Day 5: Drive from Kagbeni to Chele
- Drive from Kagbeni to Chele, passing through picturesque landscapes and unique rock formations.
- Enjoy the views of the Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri mountains along the way.
- Overnight in Chele.
Day 6: Drive from Chele to Charang
- Continue the overland journey from Chele to Charang.
- Pass through scenic valleys, cross the Kali Gandaki River, and drive through settlements like Geling and Tsarang.
- Visit the ancient Tsarang Monastery and explore the Charang village.
- Overnight in Charang.
Day 7: Drive from Charang to Lo Manthang
- Drive from Charang to Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang.
- Experience the unique landscapes and captivating views as you approach the walled city of Lo Manthang.
- Explore the ancient city, visit monasteries, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage.
- Overnight in Lo Manthang.
Day 8-9: Explore Lo Manthang and Surroundings
- Spend two full days exploring the cultural and historical treasures of Lo Manthang.
- Visit monasteries like Thubchen Gompa, Jampa Gompa, and Chode Gompa.
- Engage with the locals, learn about their customs, and witness their daily lives.
- Enjoy the panoramic views of the Himalayas and the enchanting landscapes.
- Overnight in Lo Manthang.
Day 10: Drive from Lo Manthang to Chhuksang
- Begin the return journey from Lo Manthang to Chhuksang.
- Drive through beautiful landscapes and pass through villages like Ghami and Samar.
- Overnight in Chhuksang.
Day 11: Drive from Chhuksang to Jomsom
- Drive from Chhuksang to Jomsom, enjoying the last glimpses of the Mustang region.
- Arrive in Jomsom and rest or explore the town.
- Overnight in Jomsom.
Day 12: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and Kathmandu
- Take an early morning flight from Jomsom to Pokhara.
- Upon arrival in Pokhara, transfer to the airport for a domestic flight back to Kathmandu.
- Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel.
Day 13: Departure from Kathmandu
- Depending on your flight schedule, you may have some free time in Kathmandu for last-minute shopping or further exploration.
- Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your departure flight, marking the end of the Upper Mustang
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure.
- Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara as per the itinerary.
- Accommodation during the overland tour in Upper Mustang, including lodges or guesthouses.
- Meals during the overland tour (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- English-speaking tour guide.
- Necessary permits and entrance fees for Upper Mustang.
- Domestic flights between Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Jomsom.
- Ground transportation during the overland tour in private vehicles.
- Sightseeing tours in Kathmandu and Pokhara as mentioned in the itinerary.
- All applicable taxes and service charges.
- International airfare to and from Nepal.
- Nepal entry visa fees.
- Extra accommodation and meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara beyond the itinerary.
- Personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, and souvenirs.
- Travel insurance (compulsory for the tour).
- Additional activities or optional tours not mentioned in the itinerary.
- Tips and gratuities for guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Any expenses arising from unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays, cancellations, natural disasters, or political unrest.
Is a special permit required to visit Upper Mustang?
Yes, a special permit called the "Restricted Area Permit" is required to enter Upper Mustang. It can be obtained through a registered trekking agency in Nepal.
How long does it take to drive from Jomsom to Lo Manthang?
The drive from Jomsom to Lo Manthang takes approximately 6-8 hours, depending on road conditions and stops along the way.
What is the best time to undertake The Upper Mustang Overland Tour?
The best time to visit Upper Mustang is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is favorable and the skies are clear. These seasons offer pleasant temperatures and are ideal for trekking and exploring the region.
Are there any age restrictions for the tour?
There are no specific age restrictions for The Upper Mustang Overland Tour. However, participants should be in good physical health and able to handle the demands of traveling on uneven terrain and at higher altitudes.
What is the level of physical fitness required for the tour?
The Upper Mustang Overland Tour involves driving on rough roads and exploring villages on foot. While it is not a strenuous trek, a moderate level of physical fitness is recommended to fully enjoy the experience.
Are there ATM facilities available in Upper Mustang?
ATM facilities are limited in Upper Mustang. It is advisable to carry enough Nepali currency (Nepalese Rupees) for your expenses during the tour.
Is travel insurance necessary for The Upper Mustang Overland Tour?
Yes, travel insurance is compulsory for The Upper Mustang Overland Tour. It should cover emergency medical expenses, evacuation, and trip cancellation/interruption.
What type of accommodation can I expect during the tour?
Accommodation during the overland tour in Upper Mustang is typically in basic lodges or guesthouses. The facilities may be more basic compared to hotels in urban areas, but they provide essential amenities such as beds, blankets, and common bathrooms.
Can I extend my stay in Upper Mustang?
It is possible to extend your stay in Upper Mustang, subject to obtaining the necessary permits. However, it is advisable to consult with your tour operator to make the necessary arrangements in advance.
Can I hire a private vehicle for The Upper Mustang Overland Tour?
Yes, it is possible to arrange a private vehicle for The Upper Mustang Overland Tour. You can discuss your preferences with your tour operator, and they can provide you with options and associated costs.